What a Card: Gal Gath'thong

Being a look back at cards from the Star Trek CCG, and what I thought of them back when they were fresh and new... in EPISODE order. A few Romulan cards came from Balance of Terror, let's look in...

EXPANSION: The Trouble with Tribbles

PICTURE: Slightly blurry, it's still an impressively clear picture of this cheap TOS model. The goofy painted bird is quite visible on the underside and everything. As much as 3.3.

LORE: The ship of course had no name in "Balance of Terror", but Decipher was pretty clever in picking up a Romulan geographical name from "The Defector" to attribute to the vessel. The lore mentions the source too. All the bird-of-prey stuff, which could have a game effect as hinted by the Cha'Joh's restriction box, doesn't clutter up the lore by turning up as the ship class. It gives rightful matching commander status to Keras and adds that the ship could be the first with a cloak. It was the first encountered by a Federation ship certainly, but that piece of guesswork does make the Gal Gath'thong a historic, even legendary, vessel - the Romulan equivalent of the Starship Enterprise. That's good stuff. A well thought-out 4.

TREK SENSE: A Romulan ship from the Original Series era would be both AU and OS, yes, but it wouldn't necessarily be staffed by AU personnel, which could mean future and even present-day personnel. No, it would more likely be staffed by an obligatory OS personnel. The special download is for such a personnel, after all. That download isn't a problem. Ships are meant to be staffed, and a download like this is tantamount to saying the personnel was already aboard (but inactive or on an off-shift). The ship did have a Cloaking Device, though more primitive than today's. This isn't addressed however. A Tractor Beam? I don't think we had proof of that, and the ship looked a bit small to carry shuttles. Then again, I think it was meant to be a match for the Enterprise and was probably of similar size. A Tractor Beam wouldn't be out of the question. Attributes? Well, we'll have to ignore the idea that the Romulans didn't have warp drive back in the day since it was absurd even then (what kind  of Earth-Romulan war would that have meant?), but that slowness is expressed by a simple 5 Range. That's one down from its adversary, the Starship Enterprise. Weapons are +2 from the Enterprise, expressing the special beam weapon it had, which grew in strength as it traveled toward its target. That could have been a really cool special ability (or Tactic), but as a simple high Weapons value, it works with less originality. Shields are equal to the Enterprise's, and that's where they are a fair match. Not perfect by any means, but still a good effort at 3.4.

STOCKABILITY: Though its attributes are lower than a modern ship's, there are still reasons to saddle yourself with the Gal Gath'thong. Its WEAPONS are still a pretty decent, and with Keras aboard, can be brought up to a 10 (total attributes with Plaque and Log: 7-10-9). The ship can download its own staffing personnel in the form of any AU Romulan (OS or not), including its matching commander, but you might want to use Ready Room Door for that, bringing in some other unique Romulan to his side. Keras can use that Cloaking Device right away by downloading Engage Cloak. The Romulans have relatively few AU personnel, but Crew Reassignment will allow them to report aboard the ship after that. The ship can report to K-7 (possibly for free) or to the spaceline if an AU mechanism was in play. But is the ship better than the similar Battle Cruiser? The Battle Cruiser can be Spacedoored, has just as good (or better, according to your needs) a matching commander, and is a little faster (the Gal's RANGE is its biggest weakness). The trade-off is 2 points of WEAPONS, 1 point of SHIELDS and being able to download a unique, rather than universal, personnel. Makes them roughly equivalent, I guess, but being unique would allow Keras, armed with an Engineering Kit, to download the ship with Construct Starship. Charvanek can't do this with the Cruiser. Then again, as a Romulan-only ship, it misses out on some of the flexibility. I'll say 3.5.

TOTAL: 14.2 (71%) The past is alive and well.

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